What we’re reading

We’ll start with one of the more controversial pieces circulating the internet this week: Jonathan Chait’s “Not a Very P.C. Thing To Say.” Chait’s thesis is simple: political correctness, and the subsequent (or concurrent) culture it operates in actually works against that which it claims to advocate for. In other words, political correctness isn’t bringing us any closer to equality. What isn’t simple is the ensuing discussion, with Gawker and Slate publishing particularly thoughtful responses.

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Parking lots and gas stations are lit 10 times as brightly as they were just 20 years ago. The Atlantic has been producing some great video content recently, including “What Happened to the Milky Way?” exploring how 99 percent of the U.S. living in light polluted areas affects our culture and health.

Then, there’s the Super Bowl content. Deadspin‘s “The Patriots Knew Exactly What Was Coming” is an in-depth look into what will soon be dubbed Carroll-gate.

Another internet back and forth this past week began with Nicholas Kristof’s “Where’s the Empathy?” a story about his high school friend who just died of multiple organ failure, “but in a deeper sense…died of inequality and a lack of good jobs.” It serves as an anecdotal counterpoint to those claiming the poor have it easy by living off welfare. The Economist published a response piece entitled “Hard problems,” which argues that if we were a truly empathetic nation, we would make it harder to qualify for benefits to incentivize searching harder for work. And then, New Republic published a response to that piece, “Welfare Doesn’t Destroy Families. Poverty Does.”

The New York Times‘ “The Surprising Power of Blue-State Republicans” looks into exactly that: the surprising power of blue-state Republicans.

The Trip Treatment,” from The New Yorker, illuminates the renaissance of research on the potential medicinal qualities of psychedelic drugs.

And last, but certainly not least, “The Mental and Physical Toll of Student Loans,” from The Atlantic, ditches the usual metric for assessing student loans–a cost/benefit analysis–for a look at how “the mere act of borrowing money for college can be detrimental to health and mind.”

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